As someone who loves both dogs and cats, I feel sometimes we pet parents focus more on the health of our canine family members than our felines. But as with any family member, keeping a close eye on the health of your indoor cat is extremely important. One of the most common, serious maladies for middle-aged and elderly cats is Feline Hyperthyroidism. As your cat gets older, it’s important to know the signs, symptoms, and treatments of this disease.
As with humans, hyperthyroidism occurs when an issue arises with your cat’s thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck and regulates your pet’s metabolism. Hyperthyroidism happens when a tumor grows on the thyroid and produces too much of the thyroid hormones. When this happens, it sends your pet’s metabolism into disarray. The most obvious symptom of a metabolic imbalance is that despite normal or increased appetite, your pet begins to lose weight. Other symptoms include excessive meowing or increased water consumption.
Your veterinarian will need to run blood tests on your cat in order to diagnose hyperthyroidism. These tests are relatively fast and can often be run during your cat’s regular veterinary visit. I recommend regular testing of thyroid levels once your cat is over the age of 10. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to a myriad of serious conditions, including heart disease. If diagnosed, there are several ways to treat hyperthyroidism, including medication, surgery, or radioactive iodine treatments. After consulting with your veterinarian, they will help guide you on the best treatment choices for your feline family member and you.
Feline Hyperthyroidism is a major health risk for older cats, but if you’re proactive you can keep them healthy for many years!